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Jordan Reyne – Bardo Review

The steampunk folk queen returns

Returning to music after a bit of a break, Jordan Reyne’s late December release of her new album Bardo may have seen many miss one of the more interesting folk music mash ups of the year.

Jordan’s trait as a musician is to take an oft looping acoustic guitar, looping percussion and smooth layered vocals to create a machine like chug but a very human yet industrial drone. It’s like a steampunk folk with a drone element thrown in – like the hum of an engine under the bonnet. Reyne hasn’t changed the formula much with her return but frankly, she didn’t need to. I’ve not come across another artist that goes about their acoustic doom folk quite like Jordan Reyne and ‘Bardo’ is another excellent album.

Jordan Reyne

Opening with ‘Exiter’ you are introduced to all the main elements of the album. The whooshing vocal background creates a cool unease as the guitar and melody takes pride in subtle steps up and down chords and sevenths. It’s the ever present claustrophobicness that makes the sound work. A deep Western twang in the guitars make ‘Then They Came For You’ feel like a perfect Cowboy closing credits track. The track builds as Reyne rages like a machine possessed. Her powerful voice refuses to break into full on screams but the anger and warning in there in every beat of each chorus.

Across the nine tracks different hisses and hums of the industrial world fill out the sound around the basic guitar, drum, bass and voice. ‘Lullabies’ feels very desolate and dusty as the chords twist up and down like a horror movie. ‘Black Tupid’ feels more like a travelling troupe playing through your radio. The album occasionally shows a softer, hushed side and the wonderful ‘Bridge to Tarabitha’ (excellent film by the way) brings in floaty reed-like strings and keyboards to give an airy Iona/Clannad feel to some of the track – albeit with a Jordan twist. The album doesn’t stay gentle for long as it closes with the ominous ‘Shadows’ – and ominous is absolutely the word I’d describe the album as a whole.

‘Bardo’ is an album that doesn’t wow initially with its melodies but it draws you in with its moody mystical feels and settings. Jordan Reyne’s witchy industrial folk machine then transports you away on an ominous and foreboding journey and it’s one that grows upon each listen. A real sleeper hit – highly recommended.

Recommended track: They Came For You

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If you have this release, you can comment with your own score below.

Jordan Reyne - Bardo


Higher Plain Music Rating



  1. Your tags on this review moved me to check out Jordan – thanks so much for the introduction to her music. I love the rawness of her voice

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